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Joanne Spain raises Teenline funding with Junior Health Minister

3 April, 2007

Dublin Mid West election candidate Joanne Spain was part of a Sinn Féin delegation which met with Junior Health Minister Tim O'Malley at Leinster House today (Tuesday 3rd) to discuss the party's proposals for an all-Ireland suicide prevention strategy.

Spain raised the issue of the voluntary Teenline service which is currently doing excellent work for suicide prevention throughout West Dublin. The Mid West representative asked Minister O'Malley to fund the initiative.

”The Sinn Féin delegation also includes the party's Dáil health spokesperson, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, the party's Assembly health spokesperson Caral Ni Chulain, Belfast MLA Jennifer McCann and Mary Lou McDonald MEP.

Ms.  Spain said:
"Sinn Féin takes the issue of suicide very seriously. It is one of the biggest killers of  young people on both sides of the border and co-ordinated action is required urgently."

She highlighted the government's poor record on suicide prevention.
"In my constituency, Clondalkin has one of the highest suicide rates in the state and people feel powerless to do anything about it, so this is a crucial issue for me. Throughout the state, more people die as a result of suicide each year than are killed on the roads. Despite this, Health Minister Mary Harney has allocated just €1.85 million this year for suicide prevention. This compares very poorly to the €18 million, by contrast, allocated in Scotland for this purpose.


"In the North, an effective family and community campaign, organised in response to high suicide rates in North and West Belfast in particular, has succeeded in securing a Six-County suicide prevention strategy to bring change on the ground and shape service delivery.

"We believe it makes sense that the suicide prevention strategies on both parts of this island are now dovetailed, with resources and best practice shared where appropriate.
"Health, and specifically Health Promotion (including Mental Health Promotion), is an area of co-operation under the Good Friday Agreement. We are disappointed that this co-operation appears to have been random and unstructured at best since 1998. We would like the issue of suicide prevention to be actively pursued through the North
South Ministerial Council.

"In my constituency, I am asking the Government to fully fund Teenline, a service which is doing sterling work to prevent suicides across West Dublin. While the Government's Reach Out plan contains admirable policies, it is not having an impact on the ground in the same way as Teenline is."ENDS

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